April 14, 2012
PITTSBURGH - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team dropped the second game of the series with USF, 6-5 on Saturday at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex. The teams have split the first two games of the BIG EAST series, which will wrap up on Sunday at noon.
Todd Brazeal's three-run home run in the fourth inning made the difference, helping the Bulls get the win and remain at the top of the conference standings. It was his second home run in as many days as he provided USF's only run in Pitt's 2-1 win on Friday.
"It was a tough ball game today. We had some good opportunities throughout the game," said Pitt head coach Joe Jordano, who sits at 699 career wins. "Brazeal is a good hitter and he knocked in four runs for USF. They also made some solid plays defensively at critical times. We have to move on and prepare for tomorrow."
Going against a tough pitcher for the second straight day, Pitt did well against USF's Joey Lovecchio, who moved to a perfect 7-0 with the win. The Panthers scored three runs in the first inning off the Bulls' right-hander and added an unearned run on him in the fourth.
Casey Roche had a great day at the plate for Pitt, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a single. Even his one out on his final at-bat of the day was a hard hit ball, but third-baseman Zac Gilcrease made a nice play with two outs and the bases loaded.
Anthony Defabio, who went 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk and a hit-by-pitch, scored the game's first run on a passed ball. Pitt added two more runs in the inning as Sam Parente drove in Rick Devereaux with a double and then scored on Roche's first double of the game.
Following USF's four-run fourth inning that put Pitt down two runs, the Panthers cut the lead to 5-4 with a run in the bottom half of the inning. Evan Oswald provided the run with a productive out, a groundball to third base that allowed Roche to score from third.
The Bulls added another run in the top of the eighth, but the Panthers wouldn't give in, adding a run of their own in the bottom half of the frame. Stephen Vranka doubled down the left field line and later scored on DeFabio's nearly identical hit.
Freshman closer Tanner Wilt put USF down 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth inning to give Pitt a chance in the final inning, but the Panthers couldn't get a runner on despite a couple of hard hit balls.
Pitt will turn to senior Matt Iannazzo, the program's all-time wins leader, on Sunday as it attempts to win the series. Iannazzo came in to get the final two outs and the save against the Bulls on Friday.